Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A long, meandering trip to photography

While cleaning out the closet this morning, I came across my old Polaroid i-zone camera. The batteries had corroded, but I managed to clean up the mess. I even found the film that went with it. Unfortunately, the film had a use by date from 2007. That did not stop me from trying, but the film was too old and I got nada. :-(

Finding that little fun camera made me stop and think about my long and convoluted route to calling myself a photographer.

I am sure that I had some sort of small film camera in the '70s. I have pictures of my horse and summer vacations to prove it, but I just cannot recall what it was. I remember taking pictures and then taking the film off to the drug store to have it sent out for development. Most the pictures did not turn out and I did not know how to fix that. My mom, being a single mom with a limited budget, did not want to waste money on film, so the camera ended up in a drawer somewhere.

When I was in high school, I took a photography class. I was extremely intimidated by the camera the instructor let us use. What if I dropped it and broke it? But, once we got into the darkroom, it was magic. I loved developing the pictures, seeing what would show up, trying burning and dodging techniques. After the class ended, so did my career in photography. I had no access to a darkroom, or a better camera. Besides, all my pictures were junk.

I met my husband as he was finishing college. Majoring in engineering, he was taking a photography class to meet girls (it worked ;-)). He owned a real camera, a Minolta x570, with several lenses. He also had darkroom equipment and would set up his makeshift darkroom the bathroom. Even then, I found myself in front of the camera instead of behind, and only watching him develop his film.

After we were married and started a family, he sadly sold his darkroom equipment to help make ends meet. We were busy young parents, rarely remembering to take photos of birthdays and special events. We sent the film out to be developed.

When the digital age arrived, we splurged on a fancy Olympus d360 1.3megapixal camera. Wow! I was finally able to take photos myself. Still, four young children kept me busy with little time to take photos, never mind figure out how to edit them.

As the years went by, the children became teens, digital cameras became better, and my husband gave me a Nikon Coolpix camera that I loved. I used it until one day, it simply was not there. I still do not know what happened to it. It just disappeared. I was so sad. I took it as a sign that photography really was not for me.

In 2007, on Mother's Day, my husband sort of surprised me with a Nikon D80 DSLR camera. I say sort of, because he took me Best Buy on that day and we picked out the camera together. As I unboxed it, all that intimidation I felt in high school came back to me. This was surely too nice of a camera for me. I tried to use it, I read about it, I looked up information online, I took a class at the local college, and I just kept working with it. Finally, I lost my fear of the camera and it became an extension of me.

A couple of months ago, I decided to get serious with my photography and to upgrade my camera. The D80 was and is still great, but I wanted a challenge. Enter the new Nikon D7100. It was about to come out and I was in serious lust with it. Now that I have had a chance to play with it for a month, I love it. Definitely, an upgrade and definitely the challenge I was looking for.

Over the next few months, I will be practicing with that camera so that it is as easy and natural to use and my D80 was. I cannot wait to share more of my photography with you.

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